Stories in Stone: John Gallagher, Jr.

For all the inquiries about family history I get from visitors to the PA Room, I also field plenty of unusual questions about local history. One patron wondered where his uncle might have bought a Studebaker in Uniontown in the 1950s. (The Detweiler dealership, perhaps?) Another was trying to track down the name of the last man to be hanged for murder in the county. (Frank Wells, a century ago this year.)

Sometimes a single resource will cough up the answer you need. The Studebaker question, for example, was solved by a quick search through a Uniontown City Directory from 1950. But more often than not, you’ll have to do far more footwork.

Stories In Stone: Newell R. Allton

My favorite part of working in the Pennsylvania Room is that each and every day, I’m surrounded by stories. They’re tucked into yearbook pages, scribbled in the margins of ancestry charts, and hidden away in old family letters. Whether I’m faced with tracing the history of a person, place, or event, I enjoy the challenge of piecing all the fragments together to form a single narrative.

Quick Tip: Tombstone Photographs

Have you wanted to visit an ancestor’s place of burial, but you can’t make it to Fayette County? Or maybe you’re local and you just don’t want to go out in the cold? (Can’t blame you.)

Check out the Fayette County Genealogy Project. Apart from a unique assortment of records and resources — including a bibliography of Fayette County-related books — the group maintains a terrific collection of local headstone photos. I’ve turned to this part of the site countless times in the course of my research. It’s just that great!

Many of the photos are already indexed by surname. If you don’t find the stone you’re looking for, make sure to check the list of photographed cemeteries and the batch of photos not yet indexed.